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G Flouriot, F Pakdel, B Ducouret, and Y Valotaire


Rainbow trout hepatocyte primary culture was used to test the influence of some xenobiotics on the expression of two genes implicated in reproduction, those for the estrogen receptor (ER) and vitellogenin (Vg). We showed that chlordecone, nonylphenol, a polychlorobiphenol (PCB) mixture (Aroclor 1245) and lindane were able to induce ER and Vg mRNA accumulation. Antiestrogens, 4-hydroxytamoxifen and ICI 164,384, prevented the effects of the xenobiotics, indicating that the induction of gene expression is mediated by the ER. Among these four xenobiotics, only chlordecone and nonylphenol were able to displace the binding of [3H]estradiol to ER-enriched COS-1 extracts, and to activate an estrogen-dependent reporter gene (ERE-TK-CAT) cotransfected with an expression vector containing ER cDNA. The results suggest that chlordecone and nonylphenol are direct inducers of rainbow trout ER and Vg gene expression, whereas PCBs and lindane act through their hepatic metabolites. Moreover, pentachlorophenol acts as an antagonist of the induction by estradiol of rainbow trout ER and Vg gene expression.

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G Flouriot, B Ducouret, L Byrnes, and Y Valotaire

Estrogens modulate the expression of many liver-specific genes in oviparous species. For instance, expression of the estrogen receptor and vitellogenin genes is strongly up-regulated by estradiol in rainbow trout liver. Using hepatocyte primary cultures, we demonstrate that trout albumin (Alb) gene is also regulated by this hormone. Indeed, treatment of hepatocytes with 1 microM estradiol led, after 24 h, to a dramatic decrease in Alb mRNA level. To investigate the mechanism of this down-regulation, run-off experiments were performed and mRNA half-lives were determined in the presence and absence of estradiol. The results show that the down-regulation of Alb mRNA expression by estrogens occurs only at the transcriptional level.

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NR Bury, A Sturm, P Le Rouzic, C Lethimonier, B Ducouret, Y Guiguen, M Robinson-Rechavi, V Laudet, ME Rafestin-Oblin, and P Prunet

Using RT-PCR with degenerated primers followed by screening of a rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) intestinal cDNA library, we have isolated from the rainbow trout a new corticosteroid receptor which shows high sequence homology with other glucocorticoid receptors (GRs), but is clearly different from the previous trout GR (named rtGR1). Phylogenetic analysis of these two sequences and other GRs known in mammals, amphibians and fishes indicate that the GR duplication is probably common to most teleost fish. The open reading frame of this new trout GR (named rtGR2) encodes a protein of 669 amino acids and in vitro translation produces a protein of 80 kDa that appears clearly different from rtGR1 protein (88 kDa). Using rtGR2 cDNA as a probe, a 7.3 kb transcript was observed in various tIssues suggesting that this gene would lead to expression of a steroid receptor. In vitro studies were used to further characterize this new corticosteroid receptor. Binding studies with recombinant rtGR1 and rtGR2 proteins show that the two receptors have a similar affinity for dexamethasone (GR1 K(d)=5.05+/-0.45 nM; GR2 K(d)=3.04+/-0.79 nM). Co-transfection of an rtGR1 or rtGR2 expression vector into CHO-K1 or COS-7 cells, along with a reporter plasmid containing multiple consensus glucocorticoid response elements, shows that both clones are able to induce transcriptional activity in the presence of cortisol and dexamethasone. Moreover, at 10(-)(6 )M 11-deoxycortisol and corticosterone partially induced rtGR2 transactivation activity but were without effect on rtGR1. The other major teleost reproductive hormones, as well as a number of their precursors or breakdown products of these and corticosteroid hormones, were without major effects on either receptor. Interestingly, rtGR2 transactivational activity was induced at far lower concentrations of dexamethasone or cortisol (cortisol EC(50)=0.72+/-0.87 nM) compared with rtGR1 (cortisol EC(50)=46+/-12 nM). Similarly, even though RU486 inhibited transactivation activity in both rtGR1 and rtGR2, rtGR1 was more sensitive to this GR antagonist. Altogether, these results indicate that these two GR sequences encode for two functionally distinct GRs acting as ligand-inducible transcription factors in rainbow trout.